To slow down the accelerating pace of climate change, conserving the remaining key tropical stores of carbon, water and biodiversity is essential. Among the most significant of these is the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the Congo Basin, covering an area larger than England and straddling the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

The Cuvette Centrale’s freshwater lakes are vital components of this thriving peatland ecosystem. Scientists are working hard to understand the interconnections between the rivers, lakes, wetlands, peatlands, and forests – for the basin, these cannot be pulled apart. Lac Télé and Lac Tumba are two of the largest shallow lakes in the region, teeming with aquatic and other wildlife. Read this fact sheet to learn more about the landscape.

As part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the Federal Republic of Germany, through the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection (BMUV), is providing 15 million euros to fund a six-year project up to 2027 designed to preserve the benefits to people and nature of Lac Télé-Lac Tumba landscape. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development, and the Congo Basin in the Republic of Congo, national stakeholders from both countries, and international partners, is leading the implementation of the project.

Lac Télé
Lac Télé by Johannes Refisch/UNEP, 2017

In March 2024, UNEP and engaged partners – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNEP-DHI – held consultations in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with representatives from governmental institutions of both countries, intergovernmental institutions, and Congolese civil society and research institutions.  The consultations resulted in strengthening a pathway for the Water and Climate component of the project aimed towards:

  • Developing a Peatland Hydrological Decision Support System, making it available and operational for the relevant national authorities of both countries.
  • Evaluating the potential impacts of development scenarios and climate change on the region's ecosystems.
  • Establishing a robust peatland monitoring system to track key parameters of environmental health and changes.
  • Developing a comprehensive water resource management plan.

The success of such projects depends on continuous support from governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and individuals alike. As readers, your awareness and advocacy can make a difference. Engage with initiatives, spread the word, and contribute in any way you can to the conservation and sustainable management of our planet's precious freshwater ecosystems.

Learn more and Take Action for Lakes!

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and its partners, covers terrestrial as well as coastal and marine ecosystems. As a global call to action, it will draw together political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration. Find out how you can contribute to the UN Decade. Follow #GenerationRestoration.